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Farmers worry about food supply amid soaring fertilizer prices

Farmers face soaring fertilizers prices because of Russia/Ukraine war
Posted at 8:00 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 11:35:09-04

For James Harlan, his family business dates back to 1931.

"This is 100% my income, and it's more than just a way of making a living, but it's a way of life," he said.

Harlan's a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer in Columbia, Tennessee.

Recently, he's been facing soaring fuel and chemical costs. But farmers like Harlan were just dealt an added blow.

"There are so many questions that we still don't have answered as far as, what's all this going to cost? How am I going to pay for it?" he said.

In about two weeks, Harlan will begin planting his crops, but something else is growing too — a surge in fertilizer costs.

"Our fertilizer bill usually runs on average around $75,000, but this year we're looking closer to $200,000," said Harlan. That's because Russia and Ukraine are some of the largest producers of fertilizer in the world. Now the war between both countries has shrunk the global supply.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the U.S. is a large consumer of fertilizer and a large producer of corn, soybeans and wheat. A report estimates U.S. farmers intend to plant a record 91 million acres of soybeans and more than 89 million acres of corn in 2022.

"You have to look at agriculture not as a local industry, but as a global industry, and what happens across the water in these different areas of the world are definitely going to impact areas here locally," said Harlan.

He also said those high prices will be passed on to consumers at the grocery store.

"It's going to be a test, to say the least, for everyone financially, but it will work out," he said. "We'll get through this hardship."

This story was originally published by Olivia Michael of WTVF in Nashville, Tenn.